Multimedia support (Re: X Developers' Summit)

Helge Bahmann hcb at
Mon Jul 16 01:30:16 PDT 2007

> More details are on the wiki page:

Hello X developers,

I would like to get involved with and its future in the area 
of "multimedia". Maybe the X developers' summit  would be a good occasion to 
meet and discuss ideas, if you have a slot to spare I would be happy to give 
a short talk on what I have done and what could be done in the future.

My interest is in extending the X Window System to provide support for 
network-transparent multimedia. To demonstrate that this is conceptually 
viable I have written three X extensions, providing: timing support, audio 
support, compressed media support. The extensions are minimalistic but 
sufficient to enable many multimedia applications, including for expamle

- network-transparent, robustly synchronized video/audio playback
- network-transparent video editing (cutting, effects) with real-time preview

Conceptually I would like the X server to provide

- timing support: Schedule X drawing (or other) operations to a later point in 
time (XSync in its present form is unfortunately insufficient)

- audio support: well, the title says it all. It includes playback, recording 
and simple processing (arthimetics, FIR filters, resampling). This is 
probably highly controversial, but basically I think that integrating audio 
at the X protocol level has significant advantages over a separate audio 
server (like MAS etc), especially when it comes to synchronization

- compressed media support: quite obvious as well, I would like to transfer 
compressed images and audio within the X protocol. Unlike XIE (X imaging 
extension) this should include support for nonintra-coded pictures

I have a proof-of-concept implementation that demonstrates all of the above 
can be done (will be relased by beginning/mid-August, still some code cleanup 
to do, including working demo applications), but lots of implementation 
issues remain with the core X server.

I would very much like to discuss if this form of multimedia support is a 
worthwhile thing to provide in the X server (or, rather, convince that it 
is :), and how I could proceed in integrating this support in, so let 
me know what you think.

Best regards,
Helge Bahmann
Mathematicians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand 
on each other's toes.
-- Richard Hamming

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